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Morrissey and Marshall

KASBAH Social Club - Limerick, V94 KX51, Ireland

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We Rise is the second album from Morrissey & Marshall and will be released on 26 May 2017 through DJA Records [Cat No MM/DJA 765]. This whole collection is shot through with the shimmer and sunshine that evokes the very best harmony-driven acts from The Kinks, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Byrds, meshed with the guitar sound of Oasis and Cast and blended with an energy, bite and verve all of their own. Having supported Sinead O'Connor and won over Shane McGowan and Cillian Murphy, Morrissey & Marshall are the real deal. Two album launch shows are being held, the London show is at the Assembly (formerly Barfly) Camden on May 24 and the Dublin show is at the Sugar Club on May 25.

Whatever happens next, the band are already owners of two of the biggest names in rock, a coincidence which prompted one wag to suggest that they might sound like “a heavily-amplified Smiths gig”. The wild-eyed, long-haired singer, guitarist and songwriter Morrissey smiles at the reference. “We have never pretended to be anyone other than Darren Morrissey and Greg Marshall. It's who we really are.”

Morrissey & Marshall arrived in London from Dublin with two acoustic guitars and a headful of shared dreams. They set about hauling themselves up the hard way. “You get to learn that the world is a big place,” says Marshall, the neater-looking, more contained harmony singer and lead guitarist. “You start with nothing, which is a great way to learn your trade. And really, it's been the best time ever!”

While their debut, And So It Began, won them plaudits as the finest pair of harmony singers to have emerged for decades, Morrissey & Marshall have now upped their game yet further. The pair sing with empathy and instinctive timing: there is more to close harmony singing than simply hitting the right notes. “Greg and I have lived it together,” Morrissey says. “There's a chemistry and a bond between us that goes beyond music. We've gone through it all together.”

The album winds down sonically, while reaching a new peak of emotional intensity with “I Need You”, a simple piano ballad which Morrissey describes as “the heaviest song on the album”. An elegy for one of his friends who died in his mid 20's, “I Need You” is written from the viewpoint of his departed friend's partner, whose emotional devastation at the funeral was overwhelming. “When we recorded this, I was actually crying when I was singing that song,” Morrissey says. “In the second verse you can hear the voice is breaking.”

“The Light Breaks” a beautiful, acoustic coda rounds off the album with a sense of calm and closure. The band has left the stage. Morrissey says, “It's just Greg and myself, back to where we started, to finish it off”. They're not finished yet… not even close.

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Limerick, V94 KX51, Ireland (Get Directions)